Deja vu all over again…

As my bio indicates, I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am visiting Cincinnati right now and, after having picked up a copy of a newspaper laying around my mom’s house, I began to have flashbacks to Albuquerque circa last fall.
It turns out that HDR, the very same consulting firm that nearly succeeded (and continues to try) to push streetcars on Albuquerque, is trying to do the very same thing in Cincinnati. As this article indicates, both the financing plan and justification would have a lot in common with Albuquerque’s proposed streetcar:

The streetcar system be funded mostly with tax increment financing, or TIF – a financial tool that earmarks future increases in tax revenues arising from an improvement project to finance the project that will create those gains – and state and federal subsidies. He said the TIF proposal makes sense because a streetcar system would spawn economic growth along its path and into neighboring areas.
‘It’s not about growing revenue, it’s about economic development for the city.’

Sounds mighty familiar to me! Far from being a solution that is “tailor made” to Albuquerque, it looks like HDR is simply trying to sucker as many cities as possible into buying an expensive streetcar system. The plans are the same down to their media strategies of focusing all attention on downtown and the few isolated areas that may benefit from the streetcar while the economic burden placed on the rest of the city is ignored. Hopefully neither city is foolish enough to fall for HDR’s slick sales pitch.

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